Monday, August 16, 2010

Jonathan Edwards's "Sense of the Glory of the Divine Being"

Came across this passage on Jonathan Edwards's progressive Word-born gospel wakefulness in B.B. Warfield's essay "Edwards and the New England Theology."
But about the time of his graduation (1720) a change came over him, which relieved the strain of his inward distress. From his childhood, his mind had revolted against the sovereignty of God: "it used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me." Now all this passed unobservedly away; and gradually, by a process he could not trace, this very doctrine came to be not merely a matter of course to him but a matter of rejoicing: "The doctrine has very often appeared exceedingly pleasant, bright, and sweet; absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God."

One day he was reading 1 Timothy 1:17, "Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory, for ever and ever, Amen," and, as he read, "a sense of the glory of the Divine Being" took possession of him, "a new sense, quite different from anything" he "ever experienced before." He longed to be "rapt up to Him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in Him forever."

From that moment his understanding of divine things increased, and his enjoyment of God grew. There were, no doubt, intervals of depression. But, on the whole, his progress was steadily upwards and his consecration more and more complete. It was this devout young man, with the joy of the Lord in his heart, who turned his back in the early months of 1727 on his brilliant academic life and laid aside forever his philosophical speculations, to take up the work of a pastor at Northampton.
I wonder how many of those in our churches could say they've ever experienced a sense of the glory of God while reading the Scriptures. I wonder how many pastors have.

No, no, it's not about feelings of course. But it's not about not feeling either.


Trevor said...

Feel free to delete this...but shouldn't the "Not" be "Now" in 1 Timothy 1:17? I think it kinda changes the sentence a little. :-P

Jared said...

Trevor, yup. My typo transcribing the passage. Fixed. Thanks for the head's up, brother.

Timothy said...

What you describe, I refer to the time "I got Nebuchadnezzared." It was in March 2005. Everything changed after that moment. I just posted a video on my blog that elaborates a little.

Nate said...

Thanks for sharing this story! Do you think this is the type of thing that happened to the disciples in Acts 4:29-31? Pentecost had already taken place, so the disciples already had the Spirit. I assume the same was true for Edwards. Perhaps this was just a fresh filling of His presence. I think we evangelicals are often too suspect of the Holy Spirit. We "tolerate" His presence but we do not "welcome" Him. We believe He can still heal people, but we never offer to pray for our unbelieving friends who are sick. Furthermore, if the Spirit does something that doesn't seem to fit in our box, we frequently squelch Him.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I saw it on LeCrae's facebook page. I am dealing with the same thing now. I grew up in a typical southern baptist church and am now a student pastor in a typical southern baptist church. The Holy Spirit has shown me truth. Pleas pray for me as I seek God's will for my family. I do not know if I can continue to be in a place that does not effectively teach Truth. God is Soveriegn.

Brad said...

Good post/quote Jared. I love how responsibly charismatic Edwards was...clearly it's a Spirit thing.


will said...

2 corinthians 4
that's what this passage reminds me of. being renewed continually every day... as we step outside the box... as i've offered to pray for people regardless of healing or result, they do see a glimpse of God's glory working inside me. "treasure contained inside jars of clay". it is through our cracks and weaknesses that these divine glory moments happen. i never feel more vulnerable than at these times, but i also never feel as alive than in these moments.

it just leaves me wanting more, to experience more of God's glory, being his instrument and watching people's countenances change.... instead of wondering why we as the church aren't acting, but rather just doing. that's the only way the glory will be seen.

David said...

Amen and blessings to all of you my dear brothers.

I was aware of God's unique presence in 1984 in a life-changing way and in 2004 on the day my father baptized me in private following a church service and then being blessed 2 hours later as my grandfather prayed over me before his death, asking his beloved God to bless his grandson.

The LORD tells us that the one who boasts, should boast that he knows and understands Him, that He is a God who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness, and delights in these. The Lord Yeshua says that eternal life is knowing the Father (John 17:3).

We can only know the holy God as a genuine, personal, holy God in His reality by the power of His Spirit Who the Father gives to those who ask.

His presence will reveal the TRUTH, in the Big Picture and the pieces of puzzle of which it is made.

Recognizing the Truth of Who He is and what He wants will set you at odds with those who have not had the Awakening His Spirit brings. One's life will not be the same, the world will not be the same or have the same delight. One WILL love Him, and others, and be transformed. One will be lead to a greater love of scripture and a greater prayer life, and pray for revival in those who claim to be part of the Body of the Lord Christ. He is visiting those in other nations and places, and here in the Bible Belt we play church and think it is the Church.

I do not judge, but Judgment is coming, and I am afraid for my people who live assuming God's role is mostly for our happiness.

God is gracious and compassionate, and longs for us to call to Him, that He may give us a heart to know Him.

I do not speak as some sort of spiritual elitist, but I know what you are experiencing.

May God bless you all, His will be done and His Kingdom advanced.